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How To Address Being Fired During An Interview

Job interviews are stressful under any circumstance. Add in having to address why you were fired from another position, and the anxiety can be almost crippling. However, it is NOT a deal-breaker! It is possible to gracefully cover a previous firing while selling yourself during an interview. Here’s exactly how to address the fact that you were fired during your next job interview.

Be Honest

First and foremost, be honest. Don’t try to hide the fact that you were let go or lie about the reasoning behind it. A reference check or industry connections could easily expose the truth and prevent you from receiving an offer. And unfortunately, in this situation, it won’t be the firing itself that keeps you from your next position but the deceit surrounding it. So, when the interviewer asks why you left your job, address it head-on.

Keep It Brief

While explaining past firings, keep it brief. You can tackle this directly without divulging too many details. Don’t let the conversation linger on past mistakes. Additionally, leave emotions out of it. There is a fine line between explaining your employment situation and airing grievances about your past company, manager, or coworkers. Instead, be straightforward in your answer and focus on moving the narrative towards the future.

Demonstrate Growth

After your brief, honest explanation about your situation, it’s important to demonstrate to your interviewer that it won’t happen again. Hopefully, you learned an important lesson that you’re ready to carry into a new job. Share that lesson and use it as an opportunity to articulate why this job is a great fit. In the end, it should transition nicely to you selling yourself for the position.

Remember, past firings are not a deal-breaker for employers. They are not concerned about whether you are suitable for someone else’s job; they want to know why you are ideal for their job. Ultimately, they want to see that you are honest, direct, and able to take responsibility for your actions.

Are you looking for more interview advice? Head to our candidate resources! We have endless amounts of insights on interview questions, what to wear, and how to follow up. Good luck!

How to Professionally Decline a Job Interview Request

When you are knee-deep in your job search, you feel on top of the world when a recruiter or HR professional reaches out to you about scheduling an interview. But in today’s red-hot job market, receiving yet another interview request can make you shake your head. There can be a few reasons you need to decline an interview invitation. Maybe you just accepted another job offer, your employment situation has changed, or there are too many red flags that make you shy away from the invitation. Regardless of your reason, here is how to professionally decline a job interview request.

Why it’s essential to respond to an interview request

Your first thought when someone sends you an interview request that you are not interested in is to ignore the email. That may be the easier solution, but it’s the one that can come back to haunt you. Even if it makes you feel uncomfortable, it’s never okay to ghost a recruiter or prospective employer. It’s a small world, and you never know when your employment situation might change. The last thing you want to do is just ignore the request and go about your day. It can feel awkward to decline a job interview request, but it’s the professional thing to do if you are no longer interested.

How you should decline an interview request

So now that you know it’s crucial to respond to the request, how do you do it? First of all, make sure you are sure. Think long and hard about your decision before you fire off that “no thank you” email. Once you are confident in your decision to decline, do so as soon as you can. You are probably really busy, especially if you recently accepted another opportunity, but it’s important to respond promptly.

When creating your response, start with gratitude. Thank the recruiter or HR professional for thinking of you and extending an interview invitation – similar to how you begin a post-interview thank-you note. After you thank them for the opportunity, briefly explain your reasoning. Your response should be vague (there is no need to get lost in the details). Next, wish them luck on their search and offer to stay connected with them in case something changes on either side. Bonus points if you can recommend a friend or colleague for the role you are turning down!

Example for declining a job interview

Hi [Name],

Thank you for taking the time to review my application materials and inviting me to interview for the [Position Title] role. However, I, unfortunately, need to withdraw my application from consideration at this time. I recently accepted an offer from another organization.

I wish you the best of luck filling this role. I would love to stay connected, and hopefully, we can work together in the future. Thank you again for your consideration.

Thank you,

[Your Name]

Outdated Interview “Rules” That No Longer Apply

For as long as interviews have been around, there have been a set of “Interview Rules.” Some were explicit, and some unwritten, but all were standard practice for years. However, the hiring process has recently undergone a significant transformation. Both hiring managers and candidates are now challenging once standard practices. Here are three examples of outdated interview rules that no longer apply.

You always need to dress “business formal”

Business formal used to be the standard for interviews. It was expected that you showed up in a formal suit and tie or plain skirt and blazer. This still may be the case for more traditional business industries such as banking or investments. However, it is no longer the rule for all interviews. We encourage you to dress “one step up” from the company’s dress code. Check out our guide to dressing business casual for an interview here.

You must kick off the interview with a firm handshake

A global pandemic stopped this outdated interview rule in its tracks. Not only is it a quick way to spread germs, but it also makes people uncomfortable. Many hiring managers are coming around to the idea of allowing a candidate to dictate which greeting they are comfortable with. It is now perfectly acceptable to give a wave or a friendly nod and smile as you meet your interviewer.

You cannot ask about salary or PTO during an interview

Until recently, it was completely taboo to discuss salary or PTO during an interview. However, the tables have recently shifted. It is now understood that people have a right to know the salary range and if it will be a good fit with your goals. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic changed how employers and employees alike think about PTO. If it is important to you to know how a prospective employer handles sick time, potential exposures, and benefits, don’t be afraid to address it.

These interview rules and more are being challenged every day. Just remember that when you’re interviewing, it is a two-way street. You may want the job, but employers are looking for someone who will be a good fit and voice their opinions and questions! So, don’t be afraid to ask questions, stick to what you’re comfortable with, and dress in a way that represents you and the company.

Why You Aren’t Getting Job Interviews

It was recently reported that there are approximately 10.9 million job openings in the United States currently. Yet, some candidates are still submitting resume after resume only to be met with radio silence. If you’re one of these candidates, it can be highly discouraging. But not to worry, there are a few areas you can address in order to increase your chances. Here are three reasons why you aren’t getting job interviews and how you can change that.

Your Resume Is Stale

Yes, we realize you probably already refreshed your resume. But the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. So go ahead and give it another shot. Some things to look for: organization, relevance, and length. One good way to think outside the box is to share your resume with a friend, family member, or mentor. Have them give unfiltered feedback and ask if they would hire you. 

You Don’t Go The Extra Mile

While there are many open positions, there is also an influx of candidates making a move. We are in the midst of what some experts refer to as “The Great Resignation.” After staying put during periods of uncertainty, people are ready for change. So, for competitive jobs, there may be dozens of highly qualified applicants. This means you need to find a way to stand out. If there is a role you are really gunning for, go the extra mile. Be sure to submit an “optional” cover letter, seek out the hiring manager on LinkedIn, or craft a personal email to the HR team to accompany your application. The littlest bit of effort can leave a lasting impression during a competitive hiring process.

You’re Applying Too Late

With an influx of great candidates, companies aren’t having to wait long to hire. Jobs are filled mere days after being posted. After over a year of uncertainty and underemployment, management is eager to fill gaps on their teams. This means it’s essentially first-come, first-serve. The sooner you can apply for a job, the better. Which is all the more reason to have a refreshed resume ready to go!

Unfortunately, sometimes there are just better candidates. That’s why it’s in your best interest to keep looking, keep applying, and seek out jobs that are truly a great fit for your skillset and experience. 

How To Address COVID-19 In A Job Interview

In the job search world, COVID-19 can feel like the giant elephant in the room. Whether you are on the front lines, working from home, or laid off, everyone’s jobs have been impacted in some way or another. As a result, you will encounter it during an interview. And while it may seem challenging to navigate, we have a few recommendations on how to handle it. Here is exactly how you should address COVID-19 in a job interview.

Focus on the Positives

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has created numerous challenges and obstacles both personally and professionally. However, a job interview is not the environment in which to dwell on the negatives. Of course, you can address any adverse effects such as losing your job, working under strenuous conditions, etc., but always aim to end with a positive outcome. Perhaps these problematic situations led you to reprioritize your career, achieve growth, or seek out new opportunities. With so much continued uncertainty, employers value team members who can maintain a positive outlook and flexibility.

Highlight Soft Skills

Speaking of flexibility, soft skills have become a hot-button topic since COVID-19 hit. Hiring Managers are seeking candidates that are flexible, effective communicators, team players, and self-motivated. Now more than ever, these capabilities have moved to the top of every company’s wish list. Be ready to highlight your soft skills and provide examples of when they assisted you in a work environment.

Ask About COVID-19 Policies

Every company in the world has been forced to completely overhaul policies due to the pandemic. Thus, it is essential that you understand how they handled it from the beginning. What safety precautions are in place if the position is in-office? Is job flexibility offered? Have their PTO policies evolved to accommodate time for mandated quarantines? While it can feel like you are putting the Hiring Manager on the spot, it’s important to understand their policies and if they align with what you are comfortable with.

COVID-19 has completely changed the workforce and hiring processes along with it. Use these guidelines to address COVID-19 in a job interview, and you’ll find that you’re much more comfortable broaching the subject with confidence.

Navigating an In-Person Interview During the Pandemic

If you are searching for a new job right now, it’s safe to expect a video interview. With everything going on in the world, it is safer and more convenient for all parties to do a virtual interview. However, in-person interviews are still happening in some roles, and depending on where you live, there may be looser restrictions. So, if you get an invitation for a face-to-face interview, here are a few tips for navigating an in-person interview during the pandemic.

Bring a mask (regardless of vaccination status)

First of all, you must bring a mask. Regardless of your vaccination status, it’s imperative that you bring a face covering (and wear it properly). Each state, county, or even city has its own safety protocols, but some companies have more rigorous policies to keep their staff and customers safe. Even if your interviewer is not wearing a mask, it’s still best to leave yours on as a precaution.

Please be sure to bring a neutral face covering. We have all seen lots of creative and interesting masks during the pandemic, but you must bring a professional-looking face covering. Don’t bring one that will distract from your meeting or that is not appropriate for the workplace. Your best bet is to just bring a disposable mask to avoid any negative attention.

Goodbye handshakes

For centuries, the handshake was a staple to meeting new people, greeting acquaintances, and ultimately, introducing yourself during a job interview. But with COVID-19, a handshake is inappropriate at this time. Thankfully, there are many other ways to greet your interviewer or say hello. A simple wave and a smile will do the trick. Even if you are wearing a mask, the hiring team will be able to recognize your facial expressions through your eyes and other non-verbal cues. When someone is talking to you, nod your head to show that you are actively listening. Also, when it’s your turn to speak, make good eye contact with your interviewers to illustrate your engagement.

Prepare yourself to answer quarantine questions

During your job interview, you will be asked the typical interview questions, such as, “Can you walk me through your resume?” But with the pandemic still hanging around, you will likely be asked a few new questions. Interviewers may inquire about your remote work experience, the communication tools you are familiar with, and some of your transferrable skills, especially if you have a gap in your resume. Many job seekers are currently looking for a career shift, and thus, it may not appear that you have all the qualifications for this job. It’s up to you to bridge the gap for your interviewers and show them how your previous experiences and skills make you an asset to their team.

So, if you have an in-person interview during the pandemic, these are three things you must prepare for to make it to the next level. If you are looking for more interview advice, take a look at our blog! We have tons of helpful tips, tricks, and walkthroughs to help you nail your interview!

How to Respond to “Walk Me Through Your Resume”

At the beginning of a job interview, the hiring manager will typically start the meeting off with an introductory or ice breaker question. This question usually is some iteration of, “Tell me a little more about yourself.” However, some interviewers may also begin an interview by saying, “Can you walk me through your resume?” So, what’s the difference in this interview question, and what are hiring managers looking for in your response?

What the interviewer is looking for

When an interviewer asks you to walk them through your resume, they are looking for a brief overview of your work history. Essentially, this is your elevator pitch of who you are and highlights what you bring to the table. This question is your chance to connect the dots between your experience, skill sets, and qualifications to paint a picture of your candidacy to the hiring team. In other words, it’s kind of like audibly going through the same details you would share in a cover letter but with a human element since you have the platform to present it face-to-face in your meeting.

Tailor your answer

So, now you know why interviews ask you to walk them through your resume, how do you formulate your answer? Well, just like your resume, you must tailor your response here to fit the role you are interviewing for. The things you touch on must be relevant for the position you are meeting about. If you don’t have certain qualifications that are imperative for this position, this is your opportunity to elaborate on your transferrable skills. If you are well into your career, there is no need to go over every position you’ve had. Don’t go beyond 10 – 15 years. This overview is supposed to be short and sweet, like an elevator pitch.

Current, past, future

So, before you launch into your answer, you have to ensure you have the proper framework. It’s best to kick off our answer with your current position and skillsets. This position is where you should focus your energy because it will likely relate to the job you are interviewing for. Next, touch on your past roles. Briefly give a high-level overview of your duties, responsibilities, and projects as they relate to this new position. Finally, wrap your answer up by discussing the future. This is where you explain your career goals and why this position is an excellent fit for you. Using this format will help you deliver a concise yet effective response to “walk me through your resume.”

Practice makes perfect

The hiring manager asking you to walk through your resume is a common interview opener, and thus, you must practice your response. Yes, you should tailor your answer for each position, but your first impression will be lackluster if you don’t have your response pinned down. Practice rehearsing your response out loud to help you sound confident during your interview. If you are not ready to answer this question, you will likely start to ramble, and your response will be more incoherent. This response sets the tone for the rest of your interview, so you must have it ironed out to receive that job offer!

Want more interview advice?

The next time an interviewer asks you to, “Walk me through your resume,” you will be ready to answer this question confidently and effectively. If you are interested in more interview advice, take a look at our blog! We have hundreds of helpful articles with tips, tricks, and examples to help you nail your interview. Good luck!

3 Phrases to Never Say During a Job Interview

When you finally land an opportunity to interview for a role that you are excited about, you probably have many emotions going through your mind. You are excited, relieved, anxious, and all of the above. However, how you present yourself primarily comes from your word choice or the phrases you use. Even small changes in your responses can have massive implications and leave your credibility in doubt with the hiring team. Here are three phrases to never say during a job interview to help you seal the deal.

“I don’t have much experience with this, but”

If there is a particular skill set that the hiring manager inquires about during your interview, never follow up with an answer like this, even if it’s true. Never lie about your qualifications during an interview (or any time during the hiring process). But, in your response, highlight the capabilities and experiences that you do have instead of focusing on the ones you don’t. If your answer emphasizes your limitations, you are making the hiring manager’s decision pretty easy. Basically, you must show how your experience makes you an asset or that you are ready for a new challenge. You can cross off everything on the hiring team’s list, but if you make them think you are unqualified for the position, you are doing yourself a disservice.

“My salary expectations are $X, but I am flexible.”

Never say this phrase during a job interview. If you are in a pre-screen meeting or a final interview, this question may arise. If a hiring professional asks you about your salary expectations, you must be prepared to answer this question. Do your due diligence beforehand to understand what you are worth. This range will be based on your field, location, years of experience, and qualifications. Once you have a number in mind, stick to it. Unless you really don’t care about your salary requirements, never say that you are flexible. Even if you are flexible with your pay, stating that you are flexible indicates to the hiring manager that you are willing to take less money. Instead of saying you are flexible with your salary, use your research to your advantage.

Here is an example: “for my next career move, I am looking for a salary between $65,000 and $70,000. This is based on comparisons from other professionals in this market with over five years of experience in this field and the unique skills I bring to the table.”

If you are looking for more advice on discussing salary expectations during an interview, check out this blog!

“I don’t have any questions.”

When you get to the end of almost any interview, the interviewer will likely ask if you have any questions. If your response is, “I don’t have any questions,” you are writing your own rejection letter. Having a few meaningful questions prepared is your opportunity to illustrate your interest in the position and make a lasting impression on the hiring team. Before your meeting, have a couple of questions at the ready. These questions can be about the role, the company, the team, or even about something one of the interviews mentioned earlier in the discussion.

If you want some help generating some questions to ask during your interview, here is some insight on what kind of questions you should be asking (and with some examples!).

So, these are three phrases to never say during a job interview. If you are looking for more interview advice, we have a plethora of tips and tricks on the JSG Blog!

Try Asking Candidates These 3 Personal Interview Questions

 Trying to get the complete picture of someone in a quick hour-long interview can be extremely difficult. Many hiring managers spend most of this time assessing a candidate’s qualifications and work history. So much so that after you’ve left the interview, you might find yourself feeling like you actually know nothing about the candidate at all. This can be especially true with virtual interviews. When interviewing over video chat, you can miss out on some of the natural rapport and back-and-forth conversation that comes so freely in person. If you want to get to know candidates a little better, try asking these three personal interview questions during your next hiring session. Not necessarily to get a specific answer, but to lighten the mood, break down barriers, and get a glimpse into your candidate’s personality.

What Have You Binged Watched Lately? 

During COVID-19 lockdowns, many of us invested copious amounts of time bonding with Netflix. Most candidates will have an answer at the ready. It’s important to note that there is NO right or wrong answer to this question (and let your candidate know that!). At best, it’s an opportunity for you to bond over something you’ve both watched; and at worst, it will help your candidate feel more comfortable in the interview to talk about something they enjoy.

Do You Listen to Podcasts? Which Ones Are Your Favorite? 

Podcasts have been growing in popularity during recent years. In 2021, 57% of Americans have listened to a podcast. As a result, there is a podcast on just about every single topic on the planet. Again, there is no right or wrong answer here! If a candidate doesn’t listen to podcasts, take the opportunity to share one of your favorites. If they do, take note of which ones they like and why they enjoy them. Is it a silly topic used as a way to unwind after work? Maybe something personal development-related that gets them inspired? Or is it relevant to their passions like sports? No matter what, this personal interview question is a great way to open doors to further conversation.

What’s An Accomplishment You’re Especially Proud Of? (Work-Related Or Not) 

When you ask this question, many people’s first instinct is to jump to a professional accomplishment. However, we encourage you to push beyond that. Work-life balance is of the utmost importance to modern candidates, and they undoubtedly have personal achievements they are proud of. Maybe they learned a new hobby, take on home renovations in their free time, or just worked really hard to get where they are. Hearing these personal accomplishments will give you great insights into who this candidate is and what is most important to them!

Need more personal interview question inspiration?

Are you looking for more personal interview questions to ask your applicants? Explore our hiring resources here!

When & How to Bring Up Salary in An Interview

There’s no denying that bringing up salary discussions during your interview can be tricky. On the one hand, you don’t want to seem greedy. However, you also want to make sure that you’re not wasting your (or the interviewer’s) time, and you can get what you’re worth. Not to worry, we are covering when and how to bring up salary in an interview so that you can feel confident and prepared during your job search.

When To Bring Up Salary in an Interview  

Before we jump into when you should broach the salary question during an interview, please keep in mind that every situation is different. In an ideal world, you would wait until the hiring manager brings it up. In some hiring processes, the company wants to clear the air right off the bat and asks you to disclose your salary expectations in the application or initial phone screen. If the interviewer does not mention it by the end of the first interview, it is appropriate to bring it up. However, you must do so strategically!

How To Bring Up Salary in An Interview  

First and foremost, it’s essential to be upfront and honest. Explain why you want to discuss salary so that the interviewer doesn’t get the impression that you’re all about the money. Then, try to get them to disclose their salary range before you disclose your expectations. That way, you can keep your cards close to your chest for the time being!

Then, set clear expectations. In other words, you need to do your homework before the interview! Perform searches on salary websites such as salary.com to establish a range you’re comfortable with earning. On one of these sites, input your exact job title, location, and years of experience. This information should give you a solid baseline for what you can and should be making. Then, consider your personal factors such as cost of living, family, and unique skillsets you offer.

Here are some example scripts

Here are a few examples of how to bring up salary in an interview:

“Before we get any further, would you mind sharing the salary range for this position? I want to make sure it aligns with my career goals as I sincerely value your time and investment in this hiring process.”

“For my next position, I expect to make $76,000. This is based on comps in my area, my experience in the field, and the unique skills I can offer your company.”

No matter what, understand those salary conversations are essential in 2021 and beyond. You bring value to the table, and you deserve a company that will recognize and honor that value! Don’t be afraid to broach the subject of salary in an interview but do so with tact. Now that you understand how to determine your worth take a look at our available job opportunities! We have hundreds of exciting positions across North America.